Friday, July 09, 2010

Sick of Soccer? Why not try Camel Racing or Yachting in Central Australia

Camels are not as they seem: the dedicated ships of the desert destined to serve their master. These magnificent beasts can easily spit over three metres, have been known to bite, snarl and generally prefer to do things at their own pace.

The riders are either heroes or crazy! Either way, all of these bridled passions make for dynamic viewing, with camels easily conquering the riders during the day!

The start of the race, with up to 15 camels, is confusing ... some off in good stride, others still grounded, some going backwards; it's a nightmare for riders and handlers, but spectacular for spectators - a camel in full stride needs the rider to hang on for dear life!

And it came for a good old Aussie bet!

The first Camel Race was run in 1970 in the dry Todd River Bed as a bet between two mates, Noel Fullerton and Keith Mooney-Smith, and was an added attraction at the Alice Springs Centenary Year Celebrations.

The Camel race proved so popular and hilarious that plans were made by the Lions Clubs to hold the event on an annual basis.

More than 200 sailors from around the country have converged on Lake Killamperpunna, 520 miles north of Adelaide, with catamarans, trimarans, speedboats and even waterskis.

Normally a parched dust bowl, the lake has not been sailed on since 1989 but thanks to the rains, which have transformed the desert into lush wetlands teeming with plants and bird life, the water is up to 9ft deep in places and perfect for sailing.


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